Tuesday, October 13, 2009, headline in the Charlotte Observer newspaper: “Manners help make a miracle - Southern politeness may have saved lives amid the chaos after Charlotte-bound flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River, says new book.” The new book, Miracle on the Hudson: The Survivors of Flight 1549 by William Prochnau and Laura Parker tells what happened from the point of view of interviewed passengers.
It turns out that over two thirds of the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River back on January 15, 2009 after hitting a flock of geese shortly after taking off from New York city’s LaGuardia airport were from the south. Manners saved lives!
First, I am amazed that this headline made it to the front page of a major newspaper! This is not what normally sells newspapers. On the other hand, are manners so unusual in today’s world that for them to appear and make a difference becomes front page news?
Manners are about putting others before oneself. Manners are about being a human being in other words being a joy to be around. Manners are about being our best. Manners reflect character.
Assuming positive intent, I’d like to think that manners are not out of style and they do make a difference in our lives. If manners can save lives, then let’s get busy! Begin with a kind word rather than a criticism. Give someone a smile rather than a blank stare or frown. Push your pause button and let someone merge in front of you at the checkout lane at the grocery or on the highway. Be the glimmer of hope of what is really important, giving rather than taking!
Great leaders model the way. Great leaders have great manners!
D. Elton Trueblood wrote, "We have made at least a start in discovering the meaning of human life when we plant shade trees under which we know full well we will never sit." Manners are the "shade trees" we can plant daily!
Finally, scripture from the book of Genesis states humankind was created in God’s image. Humankind bears the image of God! Therefore, I, of humankind, have the responsibility for caring and being worthy of this incredible creation! Let manners speak to God’s creation!